Lao Tzu sentenced to prison both the rich man and the thief

Lao Tzu sentenced to prison both the rich man and the thief

Lao Tzu, an authentic rebel—more authentic than Gautam Buddha and Mahavira, because he remained in the
world and fought in the world—lived according to his own light, struggling, not escaping. He became so wise
that the emperor invited him to become his prime minister.He simply refused. He said, “It won’t work because it is improbable that we can come to the same conclusions about things. You live according to the ideals your forefathers have given to you; I live according to my own conscience.” But the emperor was insistent; he could not
see that there was any problem.
The very first day in his court a thief was brought in; he had been caught red-handed, stealing from the richest man in the capital—and he confessed that he was stealing. Lao Tzu gave six months in jail to both the rich man and the thief. The rich man said, “What? I have been robbed, I am a victim, and I am being punished? Are you mad or something? There is no precedent in history that a man whose money has been stolen should be punished.”
Lao Tzu said, “In fact, you should be given a longer term in jail than the thief—I am being much too
compassionate—because you have gathered all the money of the city. Do you think money showers from the sky?
Who has made these people so poor that they have to become thieves? You are responsible. “And this will be my judgment in every case of stealing; both persons will go to jail. Your crime is far deeper, his crime is nothing. He is poor and you are responsible for it. And if he was stealing a little bit of
money from your treasures, it was not much of a crime. That money belongs to many of the poor people from
whom you got it. You went on becoming richer and richer
and many more people went on becoming poorer and
poorer.”
The rich man thought, “This man seems to be crazy, utterly crazy.” He said, “I want one chance to see the
emperor.” He was so rich that even the emperor used to borrow money from him. He told the emperor what had
happened. He said to him, “If you don’t remove this man from the court you will be behind bars just like me— because from where have you got all your treasures? If I am a criminal, you are a far bigger criminal.”
The emperor saw the logic of the situation. He told Lao Tzu, “Perhaps you were right that it will be difficult for us to come to the same conclusions. You are relieved from your services.”

 

 

 

 

Living on Your Own Terms
Osho



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